I’ve already mentioned that I have big travel plans for 2015, and now that I’ve finally sorted my visas they’re official! Next week Dan and I will be leaving Thailand for a week in Burma, after which we’ll fly to Beijing and then travel overland through Mongolia and Russia back towards Europe.
Which means that we’ll be in Mongolia and Siberia in the dead of winter, woohoo!
I spent about two months in China in 2013 (and absolutely loved it!), so will probably only be in Beijing for around five days this time – just enough time to sort transport to Mongolia and eat a bunch of yummy food. Fingers crossed this stay in Beijing isn’t as a big of a disaster as my last visit to the city.
Does anyone have any travel tips for me for Mongolia in the winter? Because Google doesn’t seem to know much about it. I’ll probably just look for a Couchsurfing host in Ulaanbaatar and figure out everything once I’m there. Our visas to Russia start in mid-February, which will give us about two weeks in Mongolia.
And then we’ll head into Russia! I studied Russian at university but have never actually spent time in Russia, so I’m incredibly excited. Our visas will give us a month to explore wintry Russia, which I’m fully expecting to be just like a great Russian novel.
Our plans get fuzzy after Russia, mainly because a lot depends on how much money we have left. Ideally we’d like to travel until the summer, so we’ll be keeping a tiny budget and trying to Couchsurf, hitchhike, and camp as much as possible.
Dan hasn’t been to the Baltics yet so we’ll probably head there after Russia, and then I’m hoping we can get visas to go to Belarus! Then we’ll go through Poland, which I’ve never properly explored so am particularly excited about. Our end mark is the Balkans, so we’ll head down through Slovakia and Hungary into Croatia and then through Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, and Macedonia, and then hopefully we’ll have money enough to go into Bulgaria and end in Romania.
After that we’ll need to find a place to settle down and make money again, and the tentative plan is to move to Norway! My family is from near Oslo, so I would love to get to know a different area of Norway. Trondheim is sounding appealing at the moment. Then again, I might fall in love with Ulaanbaatar and refuse to leave!
I would love to hear your travel plans for 2015!
Renate @ Renate's Travels says
Oh man, what a journey! It sounds absolutely amazing 😀 I can’t wait to read about your adventures! Cool about the possible move to Norway also!
The only things I’ve booked in already for 2015 is Australia and Dubai in February, and Armenia and Georgia in August. And I’m sooo excited! I’m also trying to plan a trip to Serbia, Kosovo and Albania in June at the moment. Aaand I’m hoping I’ll land some CHEAP tickets to Cuba at some point this spring, and my mom and I are doing at least some of the Camino Santiago in April. Other than that I’m hoping to reunite with Asia or Central America in the fall. Let’s just hope my bank account doesn’t implode before 2015 is over…
Ooooh I’m such a fan of Armenia and Georgia! I only spent a week in each country, but they were two of my favorite trips last year. Cuba sounds amazing, I hope you go so that I can read about it!
damnnnn girl. ill come visit you in norway so you better leave mongolia 😉
i have nothing set for this year and am hoping to not travel much and settle a bit. im going to india in february for a few weeks for a wedding. that is it 🙂
jealous about russia. i love russia and need to spend more time there! im hoping to make it back to belarus this year- and maybe we can meet there 🙂 happy 2015!
One of the first things Dan said to me this morning was “wait, so is Megan Starr visiting us in Belarus or Norway?” haha. I really, really hope Belarus works out, and while I’m a little terrified at the idea of settling down somewhere for a bit, it’s about time I spend more than a holiday in Norway.
A wedding in India sounds epic – I’m seriously hoping that at least one of my Indian-American friends gets married there!
omg omg omg, when will I see you in Poland? You know you just have to stop in Warsaw to meet me, right? 😀
Aahhhh I would LOVE to have you show me around Warsaw! I’ll definitely let you know as soon as I have an idea when I’ll be in Poland – I just hope I can catch you when you’re at home instead of somewhere on the other side of the world!
I think we’ll be in Burma at the same time! I arrive in Yangon on the 18th, how about you? I hope our paths can cross but my friend and I are on a pretty tight schedule! Let’s try though!
Your travel plans through Eastern Europe sound awesome, places I’m itching to go to myself. I hope you love Poland as much as I do, that country really touches me! Also, can you speak Russian?!!
Woohoo let’s hang out in Burma! I’ll be in Yangon January 17 – 22 sooo maybe we can find each other?!
I’m ridiculously excited to finally get to know Poland, and excited/nervous to test my Russian skills in Russia, eee!
Karlijn Travels says
Great plans, can’t wait to read all about your adventures! I absolutely loved Burma, that will be a fantastic week 🙂
I’m going on a 8 month trip in April. First we’ll travel overland from Istanbul to Beijing, through Iran and the Stans (I got lots of inspiration from your blog!), then to Indonesia, Japan, French-Polynesia, Hawaii and Mexico. Very exciting!
Oh wow, you’re trip sounds amaaaazing! Super excited for you to see Iran and the Stans especially!
Hi Sylvia – did you by any chance change anything with email subscriptions? I am no longer getting updates when you have a new post. I found this one from Facebook and see I missed a couple. I just resigned up, maybe that will fix the problem?
Now onto your plans! Russia is going to be fantastic, I cannot wait to read about it. I hate that the visa is so short. I tried to do one of those itineraries that I do for places i daydream about and it was so hard to figure out what to do and see when there was not enough time.
My plans for 2015 are China – I’ll be mostly in Sichuan, visiting some places you are familiar with! Then later in the year, I hope to finally make it to South America.
Sorry about that, Jennifer! I switched to Mailchimp for email subscriptions, so you have to subscribe to those in the subscription widget in my sidebar (the green box) instead of through WordPress, which I turned off. I think a bunch of people probably slipped through the cracks in the switch over!
One month definitely feels too short for Russia – it’s such a huge country! I’m jealous of all the amazing food you’ll be eating in Sichuan, and oooh that scenery! And somehow I still haven’t made it to South America, so I’d definitely love to read about that trip!
Email problem = fixed, thank you!
I could spend a month getting on and off the Trans Siberian Railway, let alone actually seeing Moscow.
Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie says
Oh my goodness take me with you please!!
Andreas Moser says
Bulgaria and Romania shouldn’t pose a financial problem really. 😉 At least if you stay away from the capital cities, rents are cheap, travel is cheap. More importantly, it’s beautiful here (I live in Targu Mures, Romania until May) and people are extremely friendly and helpful.
I would be so sad if I didn’t make it to Romania! Luckily I think that you’re right, it really should break the bank 🙂
That’s an amazing itinerary and I hope Russia proves to be picture perfect, even if you most likely will not see Dr. Zhivago walking along the boulevard. I look forward to following the adventure! 😉
Hahaha I love that you knew that photo was of Dr. Zhivago! A girl can dream…
What an amazing year you have ahead of you. So much travel! Can’t wait to read all about it!
I’m excited to have actual traveling to write about again, after not doing much this past fall!
These are such exciting plans! You are a brave soul to visit Mongolia and Serbia in the winter, but I look forward to reading about your adventures!
Haha yeah, I might hugely regret the timing of this trip when my eyelashes are freezing shut!
becky hutner says
wow sylvia, these are the most epic 2015 plans i’ve read yet. so excited for you. burma is one of my favorite countries — have you been before? where specifically are you going? and eastern europe intrigues me something FIERCE. my background is russian & lithuanian & i’m dying to get in touch with my roots. can’t wait to follow the adventures!
This will be my first trip to Burma aside from short border runs, so I’m super excited! Not surprised to hear that you’re Eastern European – you totally have that look!
Katie Featherstone says
Wow, what beautiful adventures you’re going to have. I love that you’re trying to travel overland when possible too. Look forward to reading! 🙂
I wish I could have done the entire trip overland, but it would have taken too long, plus I did a very similar route through China just about a year ago.
Russian winter has been pretty uninspiring this year, so it’ll probably be lovely and cold this February.
Re: Mongolia, get in touch with: https://everywherebuthome.wordpress.com/. She’s super nice, lived there as a Fulbrighter, and probably has some useful connections.
Thanks so much for the tip, Polly, I’ll definitely send her a message!
This is fantastic. I’m excited for you, especially the Mongolian and Russian part. If you need any tips for Poland let me know, I’ll be always happy to help.
Thanks, Zof, I’m incredibly excited to finally spend some time in Poland!
That’s a fantastic route, and just the right time to go (counter intuitively) – you’ll be about the only tourist in Mongolia and Russia and it is extremely cheap, so also good news : )
I just did a three week Ulan Bator to Moscow and happy to provide advice : ) Mongolia was my biggest impression – simply stunning!! I do envy you now remembering…
And it’s really easy to arrange smth in Ulan Bator – you can talk to your hotel / hostel, they’ll help.
That’s awesome, I’m glad to hear someone doesn’t think Mongolia in the winter is insane. And great news that I can just arrange something in UB!
I am beyond excited about your travel plans. I know relatively nothing about what it’s like to travel in a lot of these countries so I’m pretty much going to devour every post you write!! I’m always looking for new travel destination so perhaps I’ll get inspired to go more off the beaten track next time I get on the road. I honestly think I might be more excited for your trip than you are 😉
Haha I have been getting giddy with excitement reading all these positive comments about my plans! It’s so much more fun to blog about places people actually want to read about (I wasn’t sure people would be interested in Siberia in the winter, ha).
OMG! I love winter and my dream is to be in Siberia for winter… PLEASE blog about this and take amazing pictures! Praying for safe travels for the two of you. 🙂
Thanks, Brigid! My boyfriend will be in charge of photos, so I should be blogging better ones than usual!
Where’s the part where you swim to America to see your long-lost friend??! No? Okay we better make some plans to meet up somewhere along the way.
Slovakia? Poland? ROMANIA?!
woohoo, your plans sound AMAZING. I can’t wait to read about your adventures. Mongolia is high on my list of places to visit as well. Romania is a great place to end, if you can try to go to Sighisoara, I lived there a semester and its amazing.
Oh that’s so cool, thanks for the tip, Rebekah! I’m so interested in Romania – definitely hope my budget stretches far enough for it!
Vanessa @ The Travelling Colognian says
Your travel plans sound truly exciting, Silvia, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, that your stay in Beijing will be much better than your last visit to the city. I’ll hope that I can go back there very soon again for my fifth visit to the city. Burma is also high on my list since my parents have been there three times even when the country hasn’t openend up to the west yet. And after having travelled along the chinese Silk Road and sleeping in a Yurt in the Tian Shan Mountains, Mongolia is a country I want to explore in the future as well. Have a great time and happy travels, I am looking forward to read about it.
Um, your parents sound amazing! I’m excited to finally explore a bit of Burma, if only for a few days. And I totally agree with you – it was definitely my time on the Silk Road and in Kazakhstan that has me itching to see Mongolia! I just hope it’s not totally dead in the winter, haha.
Miriam of Adventurous Miriam says
Wow and wow! Those are amazing plans, girl! I’ve never been to the Baltics so I’m really excited to read more stories from the area. Until then, have fun in Mongolia – I hope it’s not too cold 😉
I visited the Baltics with my sister when I was 17 and totally broke, so I think it’s definitely time to return!
Heather @ Ferreting Out the Fun says
How exciting! From what I’ve seen on Pinterest, Lake Baikal is amazingly beautiful in winter. Tweet me when you get to Riga and maybe we can meet up for coffee!
Haha your comment made me laugh out loud – I definitely first heard of Lake Baikal on Pinterest! And yes, I’ll definitely Tweet you if we go through Riga!
Julie (The Red Headed Traveler) says
Looks like ANOTHER amazing year ahead for you 🙂 I finally watched Doctor Zhivago a couple of years ago and loved it (I’m a huge classic movies fan so it was odd I had never seen it!).
And yes, there are wonderful things to be said about being able to put language skills to use!
I’m headed to Utah in March, planning on hitting up a national park (I’ve only been to SOCAL). Otherwise, I’m seriously considering a Norwegian cruise through the fjords 🙂 Looks amazing.
Safe travels and stay warm in the frigid tundra that is Russia!
I’ve never been to Utah, but it’s definitely on my list! I can highly recommend doing a fjord cruise in Norway though! It’s expensive, but really an amazing experience!
Jessica @Triple T Travels says
This sounds absolutely amazing!!! I’m so jealous. I’m trying to cook up a trip to Burma with my friend in April. I can’t wait to read your stories about it.
Oooh if you’re going to be in Burma in April you should add a side trip to Chiang Mai for the Songkran, the crazy water festival around that time! Such a fun experience!
Jessica @Triple T Travels says
Oooo yes such a good suggestion! I was in Thailand last April for Songkran! I was living in Thailand that year. It is such a fun festival 🙂
Jonathan Fuhrmann says
Some pretty excellent plans you’ve got lined up there! Also v jealous of you finishing in Norway 🙂
If you make it to Hungary/Romania, give me a shout – my family’s from those two countries so I may be able to help with bits and pieces.
I was in Transylvania recently – it’s just gorgeous! Prepare for seriously heavy food, though…I wrote a little bit about the trip, too 🙂
Thanks, Jonathan, I’ll definitely be wanting some tips when I get to Romania! Super excited to finally get to explore it after hearing so many amazing travel tales from Romania!
Sounds like a great plan! I’m especially looking forward to read about Mongolia, it’s been at the top of my bucket list for a very long time! 🙂
I’m so curious how Mongolia in the winter will go – right now my only plan is to totally wing it, haha.
Victoria@ The British Berliner says
Brilliant! You’ll be doing the TransSiberia before me and then I can just follow your footsteps! Your plans are sooooooo good. I wish we could go together LOL! And you’re going to the Baltics too. Let’s do it girlfriend!!
My plans for 2015 are pretty packed. I went to Amsterdam about a week ago, and then in two weeks time we’re going to the Czech Republic to ski. I’ll also be going to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland, then Spain for TBEX. In the summer, we’ll be flying to Turkey and then overlanding it back to Germany via Romania and Bulgaria!
I’m an expert in Poland. So rustic and quaint. You’ll love it there. 🙂
Holy smokes, girl, you have one hell of a trip coming up!! I commend you for hitting so many new and unexpected places. It will be a grand adventure for sure! Can’t wait to follow along with your updates!
My travel plans for the year so far include: A few trips around Colombia before leaving in March (maybe Bogota, maybe Barranquilla for Carnaval) then back to Washington state for three weeks, quick stopovers in New York and London on my way to Barcelona/Costa Brava! I want to settle down in Spain for awhile, still trying to suss out where exactly but Madrid is a frontrunner!
For Mongolia, I used a FANTASTIC local tour company who I would highly recommend for getting out of Ulaanbataar and seeing some of Mongolia’s incredible landscapes. They’re local, independent, cheap, and we had a great experience. There’s a link on my blog, i can’t remember the link off the top of my head, but the company is Manlai’s Tours and the sight is something like Mongolia Guest House.
Sounds like an amazing year!!
Thanks, Martina, that’s so helpful! I really need to start planning Mongolia now, considering I’ll be there by the end of the week ahhh!
Im excited for you to do the trans-siberian, will be looking out for the posts. Where did you get the russian/mongolian visas?
I didn’t need a visa to Mongolia with my Norwegian passport (neither did my friends with their American and British passports) and I got my Russian visa while in Norway over Christmas!
Maria's Adventure says
Oh I love your travel plans (or, I guess you have visited most places already – I am looking forward to read through your posts!).
Btw: Trondheim is a beautiful city, and it is amazing to live here 🙂